Doncaster doubt

League officials have flown back from France into a domestic landscape shadowed by doubts over the future of two clubs, writes Dave Hadfield.

Doncaster are going ahead with a press conference today that was to announce a merger with Sheffield Eagles to form a new club. Sheffield have pulled out of that plan, however, citing "a breach of confidentiality", and the announcement could now consist of the bald fact that the club is to fold.

Promoted to the First Division for the first time this season, Doncaster have been in financial trouble from the kick-off and in administration since the end of last year. At the very least, the League will hope that they can stagger along to the end of the season. Otherwise, their playing record would have to be expunged, which could have a significant effect on both Championship and relegation issues.

Meanwhile, Robbie Moore, the London Broncos chief executive, was trying to find out if the club's parent organisation in Brisbane is on the point of cutting its links. The Brisbane Broncos took over the London club last season, but their chief executive, John Ribot, has been quoted in Australia as describing it as "a haemorrhage we don't need".

Moore said that he was baffled by that report. "I spoke to [the Brisbane Broncos] last week, and this is very different from what they said to me then," he said. "They have always said that they were in this for the long haul and I haven't heard anything from them to the contrary."

Frano Botica is the surprise omission from New Zealand's preliminary squad for October's Centenary World Cup. He has been left out after declining to tour Papua New Guinea last year, but his Wigan team-mate, Henry Paul, has been included.

Another New Zealander, Oldham's Wilson Marsh, will this week become the first player to have his case considered after being placed "on report" during Sunday's match against Wakefield Trinity by the referee, Stuart Cummings, under new powers given to match officials.

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